Disclaimer: This is rehashed from an article I wrote in May 2016 for GineersNow. Some parts are added or edited for clarity.
You might have heard stories about how difficult it is before you can become an engineer, from finishing the studies to passing the board exam, and the odds are that these stories are true. It is usual to complain that the subjects are far harder than expected and to settle with passing marks is the norm. This is despite putting extra effort to survive each semester.
The thing is, to start on engineering is one thing, to finish it is another.
By now you should already have an idea that getting that engineering diploma isn’t served in a silver platter. The engineering subjects in your course are not always a slice of cake. There will be lots of failures along the way where your faith and perseverance will be tested, which will ultimately give you an edge if you are able to convert those failures as pillars to success.
You failed an important course that has caused you a year of delay in your engineering study? Take that course again and prove that you can survive it the second time. Perhaps even third, if in the second time you failed again.
The key to survive engineering is to keep going and never stop dreaming. Mind the failures but look at them as opportunities to become better. All engineers, the best ones in the field, have failed miserably at one point. What did they do? They did not stop just because they failed.
I do not undermine those who became successful engineers without ever having to finish their studies. But today, if you want to get ahead, an accomplished engineering degree will yield a better employment result. Your chances to get that dream engineering job are higher than those who persevered off college.
“It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you do not stop.” Confucius could not have said it better.
Do not think about being the older one in the classroom or being the last one to become the engineering professional in your freshmen batch. Go through engineering at your own pace, and later the success is still sweet, perhaps sweeter. Ultimately, the goal is to finish your engineering course, no matter how long it takes.